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President Grant and Friends at His Cottage by the Sea (1872)

Library of Congress

The White House serves both as home and office for the president, but almost all chief executives have taken the opportunity to travel during their time in office. Early presidents typically returned to their own homes, as many had farms or estates that required attention. Some presidents found relief in cottages and cabins closer to the White House or just outside of Washington, D.C., and commuted daily to the Executive Mansion. As transportation and communication advances significantly expanded the distance a president could travel and still fulfill their duties, these retreats became a mixture of work and leisure. Find out how several presidential retreats provided escapes from the White House.

Anywhere Activity: Camp David Scrapbook